September 30, 2005, Vancouver, B.C. – Written for a second year First Nations Literature class where we were required to compose a First Nations myth. Stricken with writer’s block and befuddled by the recent re-election of George W. Bush to the White House, I became inspired.
The purpose of this writing exercise was to construct a myth in a First Nations style. I recognize from a modern perspective that the below writing is an example of cultural appropriation. I do not see this as a negative example of appropriation, but it certainly begs me to acknowledge my privilege as a white person descended from settler’s. I must also recognize how heavily inspired this piece is by the works of Thomas King. – Joshua Collis 2021
Gather around children, sit with your elder by the fire. I have told many tales of animals sacred to our tribe. I have told tales of the tricksters Nanabush and Wisakedjak. Listen now to the tale of the greatest trickster of all, he who changed the way Salmon spawned, he who altered the body of Coyote for all time, and he who changed the way we think about our Chiefs. Hear now, the tale of Georgedubush, the magical trickster.
In the days when Georgedubush traveled the world, there were no stars, mountains, or people; there was only war. Now you will probably say, “No people? No stars? Then how could war take place foolish elder?” This was no war between tribes of men, but the old tribes of the sacred animal peoples.
Coyote and his tribe from the east had been at war with the Salmon Tribe of the west for so long they had all forgotten why. In the west, salmon sang songs of the evil and treachery of coyotes. In the east, them coyotes sang songs about them salmon, and how they were the evil ones, full of treachery and hate. Georgedubush was heading north along Redneck Creek. Little did he know – about anything for that matter – that he would play a pivotal role in their struggle.
As per usual, Georgedubush was hungry and clueless. Large storms had destroyed many villages down south, but he was not worried. He was safe and dry on a quest from his elder father. Two weeks before, Georgedubush’s father, Georgeaychdubush, had summoned him to his large White-Longhouse.
“Come in Dubya,” said his father, as Georgedubush was often called, “sit, drink, smoke this pipe with me.”
His father offered him the pipe.
“No thank you father, I have smoked enough for today Chief.”
Georgedubush had been smoking the peace pipe all day.
“Why you have you summoned me father, is it time for my journey to manhood?”
Georgeaychdubush was happy that his son was eager.
“Yes Dubya, it is time for you to become your own man. You must go north along Redneck Creek. At the end of the creek lies Hick Falls, there you will find a prophet. He will tell you which way to head. He will tell you the great prophecy of your destiny, to end the century long war between two tribes. You will bring peace and reign as chief for four, possibly eight years. Take these supplies, they should, Dubya?”
At this point Georgeaychdubush realized that his son has grabbed the provisions and ran out the door. Dubya only heard the parts about food and becoming a chief. Before Georgeaychdubush could explain anymore, Dubya was off down Redneck creek.
And that brings him to where he is now. He had eaten all his father’s supplies the first night and became sick from frequently eating the same poison berries. After a week he finally came to Hick Falls, a trip that would have taken anyone else a day. There was an old hermit perched upon a rock at the opposite side of the creek. Taking no notice of the hermit, Georgedubush tripped and plummeted to the bottom of the falls. Georgedubush floated downstream due east for what seemed like an eternity, until finally he was snatched out of the stream by coyotes.
“You evil scum! How dare you venture this far east?” questioned the elder of two coyotes.
“This is the biggest salmon I have ever seen,” exclaimed the younger.
Georgedubush was worried.
“Am I a Salmon?” Dubya thought aloud to himself.
He suffered an existential crisis. After a few hours of deliberating they eventually agreed that Dubya was some kind of man-whale. The Coyotes took Dubya to their village where they drank, sang, danced, and became friends. Georgedubush learned of their struggle with the salmon. He offered to build them weapons that would turn the tide of war, but in return they would have to make him Chief.
“But we already have a Chief,” the Coyotes explained.
This did not concern Georgedubush, as he loved to build weapons anyway. He agreed to take some of their magic white powder in exchange. He loved the powder very much.
After only a few short days, he had built gigantic bows and arrows as well as giant tomahawks in order to help the Coyote Tribe win the war. He was confused though because this tribe already had a chief. Then the old prophet he missed at the falls came running into the Coyote village.
The ancient prophet informed Dubya that he was supposed to head west to become a Chief. Georgedubush fell asleep during this long, deep, metaphorical story. No one knows exactly what the prophet said, but Georgedubush headed west to the Salmon tribe village. The Salmon there were gullible and in need of serious aid.
The last chief of the Salmon Tribe had been slain by the Coyote’s new giant bow and arrow and the tribe was frightened. They were certain them coyotes had a bow and arrow big enough to destroy their village, possibly even all the land. Georgedubush walked in at the right time and won their election for chief by a landslide. The salmon living on the edges of the village had voted for the opposition, an educated salmon who could speak fluent coyote and was an advocate of peace. The salmon in the middle of the village voted for Georgedubush. He filled them with lies, empty promises, and plans to build bow and arrows, tomahawks, and lakes of fire water the likes no one had ever seen. He built himself a big White-Longhouse and the largest bow and arrow ever to date.
The bow was so large the salmon had to swim far upstream to complete the bow and balance the arrow when firing. The female salmon would swim upstream to their mates during the long construction period to spawn. When the salmon spawned there, they found the waters to be a safer place to lay eggs than the ocean. This is why to this day Salmon still spawn upstream thanks to the outrageous antics of Georgedubush.
Georgedubush thought the war would end and them coyotes would surrender, but those coyotes copied the design and built a bigger bow. So then Georgedubush built a bigger one. So did them Coyotes, but an even bigger one, and vice versa for another four to eight years. Until a final encounter between Georgedubush and the Coyote Chief came. They argued over who had the bigger bow until Georgedubush’s enchanted prostate spoke up.
“Salmon! Coyotes! Heed my words as they are wise and few!” the prostate cried.
“There are no more reasons for war or violence! Georgedubush has tricked you all so that he may be called chief and live in a White-Longhouse. He has told you all the same lies and you believed all along. Though one can do bad things, it does not make one evil. If anyone is evil it is Georgedubush!” The animals all cheered.
Dubya had to do something, so he kicked the Coyote chief right in the groin to show he is strongest and Coyote weak and evil. This is how Coyote came to have a detachable penis. The salmon were fed up, so they loaded Georgedubush into the largest bow and shot him so far that no one saw him ever again. Right as he was shot, his enchanted prostate leaped straight out of his body. The resulting blood turned the salmon and their eggs red during spawning season for all time. As a reward the enchanted prostate declared all streams sacred to the salmon during their spawning season and gave Coyote his first detachable penis.
The enchanted prostate was named Gore. He ran for the now vacant spot of Salmon Chief. He lost in a landslide when it was found out by the salmon in the village center that he spoke coyote, was concerned about the environment, and was a disgusting disembodied prostate.
Georgedubush kept hurtling and hurtling from the bow. Dubya had no idea how his prostate had become enchanted or why it was named Gore. In Fact, Georgedubush had no idea he even had a prostate or what it was for. He was so ignorant to this that he felt no pain and as a result he did not die. He just kept flying and flying.
He crash landed on the moon where he went on to win an election as its chief as he was its only inhabitant. Dubya at first thought he had lost but quickly demanded a recount. He learned that despite losing the popular vote, none of what people wanted really mattered anyway. So he declared himself undisputed Chief of the Moon for the next four years. He would then have another meaningless election followed by a recount or two then possibly another four years when he would retire.
Many believe Georgedubush lost the second election to some kind of space snail monster. Others say he won and served back to back terms as Moon Chief to an articulate space snail that would try and fail repeatedly to teach Dubya to read. Others say Dubya went mad from constantly snorting moon dust up his nose. Others don’t care about Georgedubush and may become frustrated if you ask what happened to him. Others say he found a way off the Moon and continued his adventures. Them last others is probably right. There’s no keeping some hungry substance-abusing moron away from you for too long.